What if Harry Potter didn’t want to go to Hogwarts? You might end up with something like the wonderfully dark middle grade series, “Magisterium,” by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.
The series begins with “The Iron Trial,” in which Callum Hunt does his best to bomb the admissions test for the Magisterium school of magic. His father has warned him that magic killed his mother. Call wants to stay as far away from that world as possible.
Unfortunately, he tries so hard to do poorly on the test that his magical talent is obvious. He finds himself at a school hidden in a sprawling system of caves, where elemental creatures lurk and students learn how to hone their magical skills.
Once he gets there, he begins to enjoy his new friendships, abilities and even the strange colorful food the school serves. Even so, he is haunted by his mother’s death in a war against a powerful magician called The Enemy of Death.
The series is an interesting take on the popular genre of magical schools, defying readers’ expectations and pulling no punches. It twists common tropes and shows that even the most noble characters can make grave mistakes.
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